Committee of Public Safety


Committee of Public Safety





This provisional group was created by the Legislative Assembly after the fall of the monarchy on 15 August 1792. Composed of government ministers, this council was given executive power. After the start of the war in April 1792 and the initial series of reverses, a Committee of General Defense was created on 1 January 1793, to coordinate military matters. In March 1793 this committee formalized the older committee, the Committee of Public Safety, which was dominated by moderates and Girondins named by the National Convention. From 10 July 1793 to 27 July 1794, the Committee of Public Safety had a stable membership of twelve deputies and was delegated the authority to conduct the war and govern France. Working together and sharing responsibility, the so-called Great Committee initiated a number of radical measures to ensure France’s survival ranging from the institution of “Maximums” on wages and prices to a systematic use of Terror to cow opponents. The most notable members of the committee were Maximillien Robespierre, Georges Couthon, Louis-Antoine Saint-Just, and Lazare Carnot, the “organizer of victory.” Ultimately, fears of the continuing Terror, and of Robespierre’s personal power, led to a coup on 9 Thermidor (27 July), which broke the power of the Great Committee. The institution lasted another seventeen months until November 1795, but its powers were restricted to war and diplomacy.



“Committee of Public Safety,” LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY: EXPLORING THE FRENCH REVOUTION, accessed June 14, 2024,